New Cream on the Block

Here at the Silver Century Foundation, we are all about the positive aspects of aging. That said, I confess that hope springs eternal when I read about the age-defying beauty products on the market.  I’m in my mid-50s and the laugh lines aren’t necessarily a laughing matter.

One of my first jobs as a teenager was behind a department store cosmetics counter, where makeup artists preyed on women’s insecurity about their looks, promising miracle potions and fountains of youth. I never thought I’d fall for the hype but there’s a whole new breed of face creams on the market, and I thought I’d help with the research. You’re welcome.

Last year, I tried the product women’s magazines dubbed latest and greatest—BB cream. Originally developed in Germany in the ’60s as a blemish balm, it was reformulated in Korea as a multipurpose beauty balm. It was considered a step-saver because it eliminated the many layers of product some women apply each morning. My daily ritual is just cleanse-moisturize-foundation, with SPF built in. But some women, especially overseas, follow a more elaborate morning routine: toner, sunscreen, concealer, moisturizer, foundation, powder.

The BB cream is an all-in-one. You’ll have to consider the ingredients before you buy as it’s now available in a number of brands and the formulas from one to the next are not the same. For example, some are made with blemish control in mind, and that could be drying to the skin. The reverse would be true as well—the moisturizing formula may not help those prone to breakouts. Either way, you don’t have to concern yourself with the order in which you apply, because the sunscreen, which should always go on first for absorption, is in the mix. Fewer layers, quicker application, cost savings. You can’t beat that.

Or can you?

BB cream, as it turns out, is “so last year.” Now there is CC cream, a combination of BB cream plus ingredients promising to even out skin tones. CC cream promises to tone down redness or brighten sallow hues. Have you seen women at the cosmetics counter trying green- or lavender-shaded moisturizer? That’s color correcting. Do you need to color-correct? This may be the potion for you. Its formula serves similar objectives to the BB creams, but it tends to be a little lighter, preferable in summer months when you don’t want or need the weight.

To help you choose the best cream for you, rates its favorite BBs and CCs, focusing on specific skin trouble spots, from cell repair to wrinkle prevention. There are creams available from low to high prices; I’ve seen them selling from $7 to $48.

I have a BB cream that streamlines the morning process a little. It can’t replace my liquid foundation—not enough coverage—so I use it in lieu of a moisturizer with a light application of foundation. I find that it’s a tad too thick and my makeup slides off in the heat, so I may try a CC cream. And while I’ll be asking some questions at the cosmetics counter, I’ll read up on desirable ingredients before I go, so the options don’t overwhelm me.

What’s next? DD cream, of course—Dynamic Do-All. The claims are that DD is an all-in-one that does what the others do, only this formula also repairs skin over time. I am sure there will be more creams to follow, like EE creams for eyes, perhaps?